Classic Film Review: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

‘A miserable mess of a film from start to finish’

I Still Know What you Did Last Summer, 1998

Directed by: Danny Cannon

Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Brandy, Mekhi Phifer, Muse Watson, Bill Cobbs, Matthew Settle

 

What happens when you have a financially successful film? You make a sequel. Does it matter if that sequel is any good as long as it brings in money? According to I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, no it doesn’t. This film is terrible.

After seemingly killing Ben Willis (Muse Watson) at the end of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Julie (Jennifer Love Hewitt, I Know What You Did Last Summer) is still studying at university but is fearful of returning home, but she doesn’t have to face up to that prospect as roommate Karla (Brandy) wins a contest to the Bahamas for four people (taking Julie, Tyrell (Mekhi Phifer) and Will (Matthew Settle) with her) by correctly guessing the capital of Brazil. When at the resort, though, it soon becomes clear that a trap has been set and Ben is not quite as dead as Julie would have hoped.

I Know What You Did Last Summer had a charm to it, slightly likeable characters (and those we didn’t like were killed off) and a nice backstory to it. I Still Know doesn’t have any of that. And to add to its misery, it has an absolutely awful, awful script. Firstly, why is it called I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? Ben’s attempted murder took place two summers before this film. And let’s talk about the whole point of them being in the Bahamas. Without spoiling too much, they’re there because Ben has faked a competition so they win the prize, so has he paid for four people to have a trip to the Bahamas? That can’t be cheap for a man who’s dead in the eyes of the public, and any money in his bank account wouldn’t be accessible, and had he of accessed it and proved his life then surely the police would have warned Julie before her trip. And why does he need to send them there? They make a backstory to him having murdered his wife at this hotel, but in the first film he never sent them to the Bahamas to kill them there, so why has he done so now?

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, 2

Going into detail about how poor the script is hasn’t even gotten beyond their location and there’s so many questions and plot errors. I try to keep these reviews relatively short so I’ll have to stop myself berating this film’s script too much.

Instead let’s berate the characters. Julie is as nice as she was in the first film and nicely portrayed by Jennifer Love Hewitt, but that’s about it. Helen and Barry’s replacements (and, yes, they are exact replacements) are awful characters, Will is absolutely nothing throughout the whole film, just some whining teenager after Julie, and Ray (Freddie Prinze Jr., I Know What You Did Last Summer) is confusing (he wants to marry Julie but refuses the Bahamas knowing his replacement, Will, likes Julie). We also get the stereotypical drug dealer (played by Jack Black but is described as ‘uncredited’; I’d want my performance to be uncredited, too) and a voodoo man and a teenager-hating resort manager; just one insufferable character after another.

It’s also strange how they changed Ben’s arc; in the first film he hunted down all those who played a role in his murder, and his backstory tells how he’s murdered his wife after finding out about her having an affair and he murdered his daughter’s husband after he played a part in her accidental death, so his murders have always been targeted at those who have wronged him in some way, but now he’s just a killer. He wants to kill Julie, yet kills so many people in this film (more so than the first film) for no reason what-so-ever. He could have just killed Julie at home but in taking her to the Bahamas he’s forcing himself to kill several people who haven’t wronged him which has changed his own personal arc. Now he’s just a killer with a island full of people to kill.

There’s one quite decent moment with the competition because of how subtle it is (them guessing Rio as the capital of Brazil), but it soon fades away in the misery that follows. There’s also a twist towards the end, too, which doesn’t make any sense in the grand scheme of things but I won’t dive into that. A miserable mess of a film from start to finish.

 

Personal: *     Acting: * *     Writing: *     Presentation: * *

Overall Rating: * ½

 

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